Update: 15th August 2020
After having the Tesla 3 for 11 months, we are no longer net zero, for the Tesla draws much more than we can generate. We are getting the balance through a complicated WREC arrangement and New England Wind, but may consider a community solar arrangement in future, depending upon what we can afford.
We would dearly love to add additional solar PV to our property, but are currently hamstrung by conservative and token solar supporting bylaws regarding these in the Town of Westwood, Massachusetts.
All solar arrays, facilities, and solar photovoltaic installations must comply with applicable setbacks as required by Section 5.0 [DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS], 5.2 [TABLE OF DIMENSIONAL REQUIREMENTS], and 5.4 [HEIGHT REGULATIONS].
Any proposal of the kind we require may be obtained by “special permit from the Board of Appeals” which entails hearings at which abutters may testify.
We have also considered filing suit against the Town under the Solar Access Act of the Commonwealth, but are sensitive to the cost that would entail. That Act does says:
Section 9B. Zoning ordinances or by-laws adopted or amended pursuant to section five of this chapter may encourage the use of solar energy systems and protect solar access by regulation of the orientation of streets, lots and buildings, maximum building height limits, minimum building set back requirements, limitations on the type, height and placement of vegetation and other provisions. Zoning ordinances or by-laws may also establish buffer zones and additional districts that protect solar access which overlap existing zoning districts. Zoning ordinances or by-laws may further regulate the planting and trimming of vegetation on public property to protect the solar access of private and public solar energy systems and buildings. Solar energy systems may be exempted from set back, building height, and roof and lot coverage restrictions.
Zoning ordinances or by-laws may also provide for special permits to protect access to direct sunlight for solar energy systems. Such ordinances or by-laws may provide that such solar access permits would create an easement to sunlight over neighboring property. Such ordinances or by-laws may also specify what constitutes an impermissible interference with the right to direct sunlight granted by a solar access permit and how to regulate growing vegetation that may interfere with such right. Such ordinances or by-laws may further provide standards for the issuance of solar access permits balancing the need of solar energy systems for direct sunlight with the right of neighboring property owners to the reasonable use of their property within other zoning restrictions. Such ordinances or by-laws may also provide a process for issuance of solar access permits including, but not limited to, notification of affected neighboring property owners, opportunity for a hearing, appeal process and recordation of such permits on burdened and benefited property deeds. Such ordinances or by-laws may further provide for establishment of a solar map identifying all local properties burdened or benefited by solar access permits. Such ordinances or by-laws may also require the examination of such solar maps by the appropriate official prior to the issuance of a building permit.
The case would be to establish that Westwood’s bylaws are inconsistent with the spirit of this Access Act. Westwood will, no doubt, claim their bylaws were approved by the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General. I’ve reached out to the AG’s office, and they say they have little case law to use to interpret the Act. If we were wealthier we would file suit solely to help develop such case law.
Update: 1st October 2019
I don’t have time to offer much in the way of explanation or comments here, but here’s the status of consumption per day, in Kilowatt-hours.
Update: I should have provided some context.
(Click on image to see a larger figure, and use browser Back Button to return to blog.)
Update, 2017-02-09: Google Earth images our solar panels
This is from May of 2016.